Zomato reinstates terminated agent after Twitter storm over Hindi imposition
Food delivery platform Zomato has reinstated a customer support agent after she was terminated over a Hindi imposition row on social media. The agent was fired after she told a customer in Tamil Nadu that Hindi was India's national language when the latter asked for a refund on his order. The agent had faced difficulty securing a refund due to a "language barrier."
The customer, Vikash, had shared screenshots of his chat with the support agent on Twitter. Vikash had approached support to report a missing item. After contacting the restaurant, Vikash asked the agent to secure a refund for him. The agent, however, failed to do so, citing a "language barrier." Vikash argued Zomato should hire Tamil-speaking people as the company is operating in Tamil Nadu.
'Hindi is our national language,' agent replied to customer
The agent then replied, "...Hindi is our national language. So it is very common that everybody should know Hindi (a) little bit." Vikash's tweet went viral and "#Reject_Zomato" started trending on the microblogging platform. Incidentally, Hindi is not the national language of India.
Ordered food in zomato and an item was missed. Customer care says amount can't be refunded as I didn't know Hindi. Also takes lesson that being an Indian I should know Hindi. Tagged me a liar as he didn't know Tamil. @zomato not the way you talk to a customer. @zomatocare pic.twitter.com/gJ04DNKM7w— Vikash (@Vikash67456607) October 18, 2021
Initially, Zomato apologized and fired the agent
Following the Twitter backlash, Zomato issued an official statement and apologized for the behavior of the customer care executive. It said the agent had been terminated and that her statement does not represent the company. It also informed that the company is in the process of creating a Tamil language app, adding that it is setting up a Tamil language support center in Coimbatore.
Here is Zomato's official statement and apology
Vanakkam Vikash, we apologise for our customer care agent's behaviour. Here's our official statement on this incident. We hope you give us a chance to serve you better next time.— zomato (@zomato) October 19, 2021
Pls don't #Reject_Zomato ♥️ https://t.co/P350GN7zUl pic.twitter.com/4Pv3Uvv32u
Politics in Tamil Nadu over Hindi imposition
Incidentally, Tamilians have long opposed the imposition of Hindi in the state and the issue has been a political flashpoint for decades. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi tweeted in Tamil, "Tamilians need no lesson on who is Indian. It's not a must for customers to know Hindi/English. It should be mandatory for support centers to speak in the state's language."
CEO Deepinder Goyal in damage control mode
Later, in a series of tweets, Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal said an "ignorant mistake" has become a national issue and the level of tolerance in the country needs to be higher. Goyal also informed that the agent who was terminated was reinstated. He justified the move by saying that young customer support agents are not experts in language and sentiments.
You can view the CEO's tweet here
An ignorant mistake by someone in a support centre of a food delivery company became a national issue. The level of tolerance and chill in our country needs to be way higher than it is nowadays. Who's to be blamed here?— Deepinder Goyal (@deepigoyal) October 19, 2021